Thomas’ two-year appointment as the Maria Zambrano (MZ) Distinguished Researcher with the Carlos III University in Madrid, funded by the Spanish Government and with support from the EU Commission’s ‘Next-Generation-EU’ framework, commenced February 2023. Since then a range of activities and outputs have been achieved.
In terms of research publications this includes a book chapter in a leading edited volume on transitional justice (TJ): “Transitional Justice and the British Military in Iraq”, in Tine Destrooper et al (eds), Transitional Justice in Aparadigmatic Contexts: Accountability, Recognition and Disruption, Routledge, 2023.
Another book chapter addressing developments in the TJ field was also published in this period: “The time and space of transitional justice”, in Cheryl Lawther and Luke Moffett (eds.), Research Handbook on Transitional Justice, 2nd edition, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2023.
In line with the MZ appointment focus, Thomas has focused on researching issues around environmental crimes accountability, and on that note had an article, tentatively titled “Accountability for Environmental Crimes in Conflict Zones: Why Expanding the International Criminal Court's Jurisdiction Is not the Best Solution”, accepted for publication with New York University Journal of International Law and Politics (JILP), forthcoming in the Winter 2023/24 issue.
The Article will be published with reference to the grant that Thomas is working on, led by Carlos III colleague, Prof Montserrat Abad Castelos, ‘Making peace with nature and making nature a key for peace’. Plans have also been made for Thomas to make a range of other contributions to this project.
Following on the article acceptance, Thomas is invited to join a symposium at NYU in March 2024 to present on his research findings about environmental crimes accountability.
Work on the environmental crimes accountability research stream also led to the publication of two blog posts in June 2023 on Just Security: “Could the Nova Kakhovka Dam Destruction Become the ICC’s First Environmental Crimes Case?”; “Prosecuting Ecocide: The Norms-Adoption/Enforcement Paradox”. Both pieces have been widely distributed and help inform public debate and policymaking on key issues in international law and environmental protection.
Meanwhile, as part of the MZ appointment Thomas continues the work on the 4-year TJ Standardization project, funded by the Independent Research Council Denmark and led by Roskilde University colleague, Associate Prof Line Gissel.
This included co-hosting an international workshop in Bogota, Colombia, titled “Toolkits and Standards in Transitional Justice: Consolidation, Innovation and Implications”, held at Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, 15-16 February 2023. The workshop consisted of eight panels across two streams, with a total 36 papers presented, broadly covering issues of standardization in transitional justice, including a paper by Thomas covering findings from field work in Uganda. The workshop was preceded by a public event with two keynote speeches by Prof Cath Collins, Ulster University Transitional Justice Institute, and Julieta Lemaitre Ripoll, La Jurisdicción para la Paz, respectively.
In the context of the TJ standardization project Thomas further carried out a last round of field research in Uganda in May 2023, and is now working on preparing two manuscripts on the topic for publication, expectedly in 2024.
Separately, he organized a seminar at Carlos III University, “Promises & challenges for extraterritorial application of human rights law & norms”, on 23 May 2023, involving speakers and participants from Carlos III, other universities in Spain and the UK as well as practitioners working on the topic. Carlos III students were invited and took part in the seminar.
Thomas also made a presentation (online) at a seminar hosted by Queen’s University Belfast, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, “On law and war: 20 years since the war on Iraq”, on 23 March 2023. His presentation addressed issues around accountability for alleged war crimes by British soldiers in Iraq.
In August 2023, Thomas served as external PhD examiner at Brunel University (London) concerning a thesis about corporate criminal liability in international law. He also served on bachelor thesis tribunals at Carlos III.
Thomas has been teaching a Peace and Security Practice Group for undergraduate students at Carlos III in the spring semester 2023 and is currently lecturing a Public International Law module at the University in the fall 2023 semester.
Preparing for future activities and outputs in the context of the MZ appointment, Thomas has applied for – and obtained – internal funding from the Carlos III University for hosting an international workshop in November 2023, tentatively titled ‘Justice options for environmental crimes in armed conflict’.
He is also preparing a book proposal covering issues relating to accountability for Western powers, including for core international crimes as well as environmental crimes.